Powmax Demon 580W

Powmax is a company typically associated with lower end power supplies. But when I had seen that they had a 580W model with a "black chrome" finish and red LED's for around $50, I had to check it out.

The Powmax Demon is a bit of a backwards design. The back of the housing is perforated.
There's a 80MM fan on the front of the power supply, inside of the case. Then there's a 120MM fan pointing down into the PC. Even the 110/230V switch is INSIDE the case!

When I received my Powmax Demon 580W, the first thing I noticed is that it was lighter than any other power supply I had ever used before. Even thinking back to 250 AT power supplies I used back in 1996, I could only say "This thing is LIGHT!"

And I think I know what black chrome is, or at least what black chrome should mean. To me, black chrome is a term used to describe a smoked mirror finish, similar to what Raid Max and Ultra call "Titanium," which in itself is a mis-nomenclature because Titanium is actually a dull gray color with a slight pinkish hue. It polishes up nicely (take a look at a titanium bicycle frame,) but never turns a mirror finish. This power supply was clearly BLACK.

Unlike the other power supplies we looked at so far, this housing is smaller (although the fan being mounted on the outside gives the PSU the same overall length of your typical power supply.)
Despite this, Powmax only chose to utilize about 70% of the space inside. All of the components are a little more than half the size of the components in the other power supplies.
The heat sinks also are about the size of the little CVS Pharmacy Extra Care card you would put on your key chain. I'm a bit surprised this is a 580W power supply. I guess we'll see.

As usual, I opened the power supply up and inside I found about half as much "power supply" as any of the other power supplies I have reviewed today. Two ideas came to mind. Either Moore's Law now applies to power supplies and Powmax is far advanced from other manufacturers, or the two components on the PCB that look like capacitors are actually uranium isotopes. Yes people... The Powmax Demon is not a switching power supply. It's actually a miniature nuclear reactor.... and the red glowing is NOT derived from LED's! I'ts radiation!!! Ok... Maybe not.

The heat sinks are about as small as I've ever seen. They do not even run the length of the already small PCB. They only come up half way up the height of the housing and plateau into two little sheets of perforated aluminum.

The main ATX cable has a red weave over it and the power connectors (minus the SATA connectors) are all red plastic.
Pretty sharp looking, actually.

Aesthetically, the Powmax has a whole lot of red going on. The ATX cable has red webbing over it, the Molex connectors are all red, the fans are red and the AC outlet is red. As soon as the unit is plugged in, the on/off switch glows red, and once it's turned on, the LED's in the fans kick out red light. All and all, a very ANGRY looking power supply.

The Powmax does not seem to feature a thermostatically controlled fan, although the Powmax website implies that the "noise level (is a) maximum of 37db at 100% system loading." As if the fans actually spun slower and quieter at less load. Perhaps I had the power supply at full load from the moment I turned it on, because the inside fan was very loud. It's a good thing it's mounted INSIDE the case and not on the back like most power supplies. The components inside the PC from the front of the power supply to the outside actually baffles some of the noise.

Studies show that the color red increases the heart rate, brain wave activity, and respiration. Yeah... That's what I need.

Let's see what Powmax claims this puppy can do...

Max Output Current
Max Combined Wattage

If the above numbers are accurate, this is a hell of a power supply. The problem is, I can't see how they can be real numbers with such undersized components.

Oh wait... That's right... N - U - C - L - E - A - R.

ATX connector 20
2 x 2 12V connectors 1
2 x 3 PCIe 0
6-pin Xeon/AUX connector 1
5.25" Drive connectors 6
3.5" Drive connectors 2
SATA Drive power connectors 2
Fan only connectors (thermostatically controlled 12V only) 0

What's my opinion about what the outcome will be?

I think the power supply will do fine with test one and test two, but I'm not sure it'll stay within spec on test three.  I'm not really all to sure I'll even be able to load the power supply beyond test three, which completely contradicts the power supply 580W rating.  I guess we'll just have to load her up and see......

Powmax Demon 580W

Zero Load
Test One
Test Two (294W)
Test Three
Full Load (306W)
11.96 FAIL 12.34 FAIL 11.72
5.26 FAIL 4.72 FAIL 4.95
3.52 FAIL 3.39 FAIL 3.41
26% FAIL 65% FAIL 72%
Power Factor
.63 FAIL .65 FAIL .69

Temperature under load = 39.2C. Temperature after power off =55.1C.

Analysis of results:

Well, that did a hell of a lot worse than I could ever imagine.  In fact, I'm considering writing Powmax for an explaination of the 580W label.

Overload protection kicked in on test one and three.  And after I ran test two for a couple of hours, the power supply started to trip when any setting above what it was running at under test two was applied.  Eventually the Powmax refused to power up at all.   I had to unplug the power supply from the load tester, plug in a little home-body power supply tester just to make sure it was still breathing, let it cool down, and then try again.

My little power supply tester acted as a sort of defibrillator after subsequent overloads rendered the Powmax Demon dead as a doornail.

At this point, the overload protection failed to work at all.  The "full load" test consisted of loading the 12V to 16A, the 5V to 18A and the 3.3V to 3A.  When I took the 5V up to only 20A, the 12V and 5V actually dropped to 9.34V and 3.85V respectively.  Talk about "fallout".

Despite all of this bad news, I will say the temperatures stayed low, although I couldn't take the temps during test three like all of the other power suppies.  I had to take the temperature during the "full load" test.

So in the end.....

If red is your color, I have to give Powmax an "E" for "effort", or maybe an "F" for fission, for trying to make this power supply look trick.  With the red LED's and the red weave over the cables and the red power connectors, a Bo-Sox fan can really get his fix.  I'll give this power supply a 7 for appearance.

Given the minimal "half life" for this unit, I'm giving this power supply only a 3 for performance.  Keep in mind that if Powmax was a little more honest about this power supply's capabilities and slapped a "300W" label on it, it probably would have scored twice as high.

It's average overall score is a 5.


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